Telecoms Among Biggest Newspaper Advertisers

By: Lucia Moses

Fierce competition among telecom companies continued to play itself out to the benefit of newspapers last year, as a battle for market share propelled three new telecom companies into the top 10 list of brand advertisers in newspapers, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Verizon Wireless Service continued its ascent in the rankings last year, replacing AT&T Wireless Service as the second-biggest brand advertiser in newspapers, after longtime first-place holder Macy’s. AT&T Wireless, meanwhile, slipped to ninth place after catapulting from 44th to second place in 2001.

The rankings also illustrated the ups and downs of the retailing industry, with Kmart dropping from seventh to 17th place among brand advertisers and Target rising from 18th to 16th place.

The 2002 list of top 100 parent company advertisers, meanwhile, betrayed a relative falloff in importance of auto makers last year, as companies like Ford Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. slipped in ranking.

Overall, increased spending by telecom companies, as well as some retailers and movie studios, helped nudge newspapers’ total share of ad dollars to 24.5% in 2002 (or $23.5 billion) from 24.3% (or $21.8 billion) the year before. TV and radio also posted share gains, while magazines and outdoor declined.

For 2003, CMR predicted spending in telecom, along with entertainment, automotive, and pharmaceutical companies would continue driving share gains among newspapers.

“Overall, we’re going to be looking for one-tenth to two-tenths of a percent share growth for newspapers, based on a very strong second-half performance,” said Chuck Paul, CMR’s director of national newspaper sales, “but that’s yet to be seen.”

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